Roll Call: Trump picks Pence as his running mate

Roll Call is reporting that Columbus native Mike Pence is Donald J. Trump’s pick for vice president.

The publication is citing an anonymous source.

Roll Call spoke with a “Republican with direct knowledge of the decision.” Trump said he would formally announce his vice president at 11 a.m. Friday in New York City.

The New York Times is also reporting that Pence is the likely pick. Here’s what an excerpt from the story:

Donald J. Trump’s campaign has signaled strongly to Republicans in Washington that he will pick Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, as his running mate, though Republicans caution the party’s mercurial presidential candidate may still backtrack on his apparent choice.

 Mr. Trump’s advisers have told national Republican officials that they are preparing to make an announcement with Mr. Pence, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations, who were not authorized to discuss them publicly. His campaign has said that it will unveil a running mate for Mr. Trump in New York on Friday.

From earlier today:

For the next 24 hours, political junkies are playing the who-will-Donald-Trump-pick-as-his running-mate parlor game. Mike Pence? Newt Gingrich? Chris Christie? Someone else?

The intrigue mounts as we get closer to 11 a.m. Friday, when Trump has said he will make the announcement. If you are playing the game, here are some tea leaves, er tweets, you can analyze.

Here is what The Associated Press is reporting:

10:24 p.m. Gingrich expect to hear from Trump today
Newt Gingrich says he expects to hear from Donald Trump about his vice presidential decision as early as Thursday afternoon.

In a brief interview with The Associated Press, Gingrich says he expects the decision sometime after 1pm. He says he had not heard from the Trump campaign Thursday morning.

Gingrich, the former House speaker, is among Trump’s top choices, along with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Gingrich praised Trump for running a “very fair, open process” and said he looked forward to the businessman’s decision.

Trump and his running mate will make their first joint appearance Friday in New York.

8 a.m. Final phase of vice president search
Republican Donald Trump entered the final phase of his high-profile search for a running mate, arranging last-minute meetings with his finalists and family members as his staff prepares for a Friday announcement.

Trump posted on Twitter Wednesday evening that he would reveal his choice at 11 a.m. Friday in Manhattan.

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee, his adult children and key staffers huddled with prospects earlier in the day.

He began Wednesday with breakfast at the residence of one, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Wednesday morning, a day after the pair campaigned together in the state. They were joined by Trump’s three adult children, along with his son-and-law and campaign chair Paul Manafort, who were seen leaving the residence.

Hours later, Newt Gingrich, another finalist, was seen with Trump’s entourage at a downtown Indianapolis hotel. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been advising Trump, was spotted arriving at the same hotel not long after Gingrich left.

Trump’s family, including Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, also met privately with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday. The meeting was confirmed by a source with direct knowledge of the meeting, but was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The meetings have been designed to let Trump’s family get to know the candidates better before the presumptive nominee formalizes his decision.

Trump had originally planned to fly back from Indiana with Pence following a rally Tuesday night, but his plane was grounded by mechanical issues, so Trump’s kids flew to join them in Indiana, another person familiar with his movements but not authorized to discuss them said.

“It was a late plan,” Pence told reporters later Wednesday. “I was hauling dishes from the cupboard at midnight. (Pence’s wife) Karen laid out a nice spread.”

Indiana is a state with particular significance for the presumptive GOP nominee: It’s where he effectively locked up the GOP nomination with a commanding primary win that drove former rival Ted Cruz from the race.

Pence, Christie and Gingrich were said to be the final contenders for vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket less than a week before the GOP meets in Cleveland for the formal nomination. That’s according to a person familiar with Trump’s thinking, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the vetting process. Trump said in a Tuesday interview with The Wall Street Journal that Sessions, Trump’s top Senate advocate, is also still in the mix.

Pence is a steady, staunch conservative who would help calm nervous Republican wary of Trump’s impulsive style. Gingrich is a boisterous rabble-rouser who has spent decades in Washington, including as House speaker. Christie, a one-time rival, has become one of Trump’s most trusted advisers.

Trump has spent weeks consulting with friends and family as he weighs the most important decision of his campaign to date. He’s also brought his finalists on tour, having them opening for him at speeches and rallies to test their receptions before his crowds.

Gingrich said Wednesday night he believes it’s down to two contenders: him and Pence.

“I suspect sometime tomorrow that Mike and I will both get phone calls and one of us will be packing our bags to go to New York and the other one will be going to watch it on TV,” Gingrich said on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.”

Trump appeared reluctant to commit Wednesday. “I’m narrowing it down. I mean I’m at three, potentially four. But in my own mind, I probably am thinking about two,” he told Fox’s Bret Baier.

Introducing Trump at a rally in Westfield, Indiana, on Tuesday evening, Pence received an enthusiastic reception as he compared Trump to Republican icon Ronald Reagan and dug into Trump’s likely Democrat rival, Hillary Clinton.

Trump told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday he is looking for a “fighter skilled in hand-to-hand combat” as his second-in-command, but hadn’t seen enough of Pence to measure his fight.

While Trump kept his cards close, he spoke playfully of Pence at the rally: “I don’t know whether he’s going to be your governor or your vice president.”

Pence told reporters Wednesday he was “honored by the attention” and the “opportunity to get to know this good man and his family.”

“There’s a number of other and noteworthy Americans that they’re considering and I’m just honored to be on that list,” he said.

Gingrich framed the choice for Trump as a decision between a stabilizing force who would help unify the party and a fellow outsider who clicks personally with the billionaire businessman.

“One of the really hard questions he’s got to weigh … is do you really want a two-pirate ticket?” Gingrich said of himself and Trump.